Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Reggae Boyz assistant coach Alfredo Montesso believes the national team is in good shape to advance to the CONCACAF World Cup final round with two games left to go in the semi-final round.
As things stand, the team is currently out of the running, sitting third in the tightly ranked table behind Guatemala and the United States. However, all teams are currently tied on seven points and separated by goal difference. Antigua and Barbuda are at the bottom of the table with one point.
"I think we are in a good position. My feeling is that there was just one result, that you could say was a bad result and that was the draw against Antigua, because nobody else has lost there," Montesso told The Gleaner.
"But, if you look at our previous away record in qualifying we have done okay."
The Boyz came in for a bit of criticism after losing their first match of the campaign, 1-0 to the United States at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio three weeks ago. After a solid performance at the National Stadium, where they dominated for huge periods, the team seemed to employ a more defensive mindset in Ohio, constantly being pushed back by the United States, who hit the crossbar on several occasions. The team was notably on the back foot for most of the encounter.
The coach is adamant, however, that an ultra-defensive posture was not part of the team's plans heading into the encounter and credit should be given to the United States.
"I heard we played a very defensive game but we played with three strikers. Our plan was never to be defensive and that is not what we told the players. America played a good game and what you have to understand is that they pushed us to play defensively," Montesso said.
"We were more composed in the second half and had some ball possession. I didn't believe the US could play at the same pace, but even so we did not create much and should have done better," he added.
In their final two matches, the team will tackle Guatemala on October 12 in an away encounter, before hosting Antigua and Barbuda at the National Stadium. In a situation where positive results in both games will be crucial for the team's progression, Montesso says the Boyz will aggressively chase maximum points.
"Our aim is to go for a win, we always play for a win. The philosophy of the team is always to go out and try and score goals. Always, we must stay hungry for goals."